Anyone else wondering how to hydrate skin? Winter is officially here! I've had so many questions on how to hydrate the skin lately that I thought I would do a dedicated post on the subject. After all, as the seasons change, so should your skincare. When it's cold and dry your skin needs different things then when it's hot and humid. So if your skin's been freaking out the past few weeks- keep reading! It's time to address some of the common skin issues when winter strikes!
How To Hydrate Skin-
I list the products in order that they should be applied to the skin. If you want a more in depth read on what products do for the skin, and when to apply them head to my How To Create A Natural Skincare Routine Post here!
It's no secret that the air becomes drier when winter comes and you can wonder how to hydrate skin properly when it comes to a cleanser. The air no longer holds as much moisture like it does in the warm months. When the air is drier, skin also can get drier. Unfortunately, this can lead to skin cracking, redness and an overall heightened sense of sensitivity. When your skin loses it's moisture barrier, it can easily get infamed. Not a recipe for skin success!
How to combat moisture loss?
I'm going to get to creams and oils, but it's also important to really think about what you're using to cleanse your skin. Are you cleansing your skin with a harsh cleanser that is going to strip your skin and leave it feeling drier? Swap out your spring or summer cleanser for a oil based or cream cleanser. This will nourish your skin from the very beginning of your routine, keeping your skin balanced from the start.
Here are some of my favorite natural winter skincare cleansers-
- Beautycounter Cleansing Balm- If you're not familiar with a cleansing balm allow me to explain. A cleansing balm feels just like the name suggests- a balm. It's thick and you only need a small amount applied to dry skin to get all the makeup, and grime off from the day. Once you're done rubbing in circular motions with it, then you take a warm washcloth and use it to remove it all. The beauty of a cleansing balm is your skin doesn't feel dried out at all afterwards. It feels balanced, and so hydrated! Grab it here!
- OSEA Ocean Cleanser- This is one of my favorite cleansers in clean beauty. It isn't drying but not overly hydrating either. A good balance for sure. If you tend to have oily skin, or live in a pretty mild climate during the winter this would be a great cleanser. I first get my skin damp, then apply this cleanser all over my skin. Grab it here!
- Mahalo Unveil Cleanser- This is another cleanser that is similar to a cleansing balm. However, I do get my skin damp first before applying this. It emulsifies a little(gets sudsy) when you apply to skin with water. It feels so good on the skin!! It removes all the makeup, and grime easily too. My skin feels balanced and nourished. Grab it here!
- Christina Moss Organic Facial Wash- This facial wash is both affordable and effective! It is great for the most sensitive skin types. It doesn't leave your skin dry and yet removes your makeup and grime. I apply to wet skin and rub in circular motions and then rinse off. Grab it here!
- Beautycounter Countertime Cleansing Oil- This cleanser feels amazing! It's my favorite everyday cleanser. I've gone through several bottles and keep going back for more. It is an oil but when you apply just the tiniest amount of water after rubbing all over the skin it emulsifies and you get the creamy/milky consistency. It removes all my makeup effortlessly. Can't recommend it enough! Get it here!
- Beautycounter Counterstart Cococream Cleanser- This cleanser is both affordable, and effective! You can't beat the price of $20. It is a creamy cleanser, so it feels more like a light lotion on the skin. I love how it removed all my makeup and doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped. Get it here!
So now that you know what cleansers to use when it comes to how to hydrate skin, let's talk about exfoliants.
How to hydrate skin while using an exfoliant? I know people often wonder if it's possible since skin during the winter months skin is more sensitive and vulnerable. My rule of thumb is it's best to steer clear of the manual exfoliants if you have really sensitive skin. Some people might do fine with them depending on their skin type but overall physical exfoliants can be too harsh.
It's best to stick with chemical or enzyme exfoliants. Enzyme exfoliants are similar to chemical exfoliation but much gentler. It breaks down the glue that holds together dead skin. They use active ingredients like papain, papaya and pineapple to slough off the dead skin. Enzyme exfoliation is great for someone with sensitive skin. There’s no actual manual exfoliant involved. Another type is chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation is stronger than enzyme exfoliation. It uses Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA’s) or Beta Hydroxy Acids(BHA’s). AHA’s are not as strong as BHA’s. A lot of peels are considered chemical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants are great for those with oily skin and acne.
Here are some of my favorite natural winter skincare exfoliants-
- Leahlani Honey Love- This is a gentle exfoliant using enzymes to help slough off dead skin cells. It is healing, brightening and exfoliating all at the same time. Especially great for those with combination or acne prone skin. I apply this to damp clean skin and rub in circular motions. Then I let it sit on my skin for 3-5 minutes. Grab it here!
- Laurel Honey Berry Enzyme Mask- This is also an enzyme exfoliator that gently lifts away dead skin. It smells so good! A mixture of honey, berries and grapefruit. I apply this to damp skin, rub in circular motions and then let it sit on skin for 5-30 minutes. Grab it here!
- Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator- I discovered this exfoliator last year and since have been using it. It really helps to brighten skin gently using jojoba beads. The jojoba beads aren't harsh but gentle. They glide over the skin easily, not disrupting skin's natural moisture balance. I apply this to clean damp skin and rub in circular motions. Especially great for sensitive skin types. Grab it here!
- Ursa Major Bright and Easy 3-Minute Flash Mask- This mask gets you glowing in 3 minutes flat- just like the name suggests. It’s perfect for the most sensitive skin types. Worried your skin might react to a harsh exfoliant? This may be the one for you. Using enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells, this mask does it all in 3 minutes! It looks like a gel and feels light and refreshing on the skin. If you’re perpetually running late, this may be the mask for you! I put it on before I brush my teeth and rinse off once I’m done. The perfect amount of time to get a quick glow for the rest of the day. Grab it here!
- Odacite Bioactive Rose Gommage- This is a newer discovery of mine and I'm loving it! Gommage is a french term that means professional-type exfoliation method. It helps to resurface your skin gently. Although it helps to resurface the skin it does it gently. Your skin feels smooth and not over exfoliated. You can either use this as a Gommage and peel it off your skin after it has set for a few minutes or a mask. You can even use it under the eyes as an eye mask! Get it here!
Ok, now that we've got cleansers and exfoliants down, let's talk about oils and creams.
Oils are definitely the rage, but for good reason! An oil consists of essential fatty acids that help to bring moisture to the skin. They also help to repair the outer layer of the skin so you don't lose more moisture. Our bodies don’t produce EFA’s on their own so we need to supplement them internally and externally. I like taking a fish oil daily for some good omega 3’s. Oils also can contain a mix of essential oils that help to balance the skin and provide therapeutic properties. Oil’s work perfectly with our skin’s cutaneous and get to the center of the epidermis. Many people with oily skin think they should avoid oils- when really the opposite is true. Using oils helps bring balance to the skin and doesn’t clog pores(if you choose the right ones) like other moisturizers that contain emulsifiers, waxes, etc. Having an oil in your skincare arsenal is a good idea when it comes to how to hydrate skin in the winter.
Here are some of my favorite natural winter skincare oils-
- Supercritical Pure Chia Oil- (dry skin, sensitive) This oil is made for even the driest skin types. Literally hydrating the most parched skin. It also has ingredients that plump up the skin and minimize fine lines. This is an all around super hydrator. I use it in the morning before my makeup or after a serum at night when I need some extra moisture. Your skin will feel like silk! Get one for yourself here!
- Osmia Organic's Nectar Vital Rose Drops-The name is so appropriate for it, it truly feels like nectar on your skin, a rich luxe oil. Some oils feel thinner but this one feels fatty-haha are you still with me?! Let’s just say I love the feel of it. And the smell, amazing! Subtle rose, sandalwood and jasmine envelope you. I applied this at night and in the morning. At night I applied it after the toner and my skin just drank it up. In the morning my skin felt silky smooth and hydrated. It was as if it had a big drink of water at night and was infused with oxygen. Seriously, it’s SO good! You only need a few drops too. Having dry skin once the weather starts to turn I like adding a heavier moisturizer/oil in the morning. This was just the ticket. I allowed my skin to soak it up for 5 minutes before applying my makeup. You guys will love this, trust me! With only 8 ingredients, this 99.6% organic nectar is seriously so lovely. Grab it here!
- Holi(oil) Youth Serum- This frosted bottle contains a rich oil that smells like roses. Not only does it help smooth skin and wrinkles but it also is extremely hydrating. It doesn’t feel greasy at all and seeps into your skin, giving your face a radiance. My skin looked restored. I used this after several sleepless nights and it literally brought the life back into my skin. It’s true to it’s name- giving you your youthful skin back! There isn’t a long list of ingredients but the ones that are in there are effective. I also love using this before makeup. My foundation glides on. Bonus- my husband can use it too! This has barely any ingredients and scores a 2 when it comes to comedogenic rating. Which means it’s most likely not to cause clogged pores in people, however it could still in some. Grab your bottle here!
- Indie Lee Squalane Oil- Helps with texture and appearance of skin tone. It nourishes the skin without feeling greasy. Has a comedogenic rating of 0-1, which means it's great for acne skin. I love how simplistic this oil is. It literally only contains squalene oil- that's it! Great for sensitive skin and for improving the overall quality of the skin's appearance. Grab it here!
- Pai Rosehip Seed Oil- This oil has a rating of 1 on the comedogenic scale. Rosehip seed oil is great for so many things, from hydrating skin to calming inflammation. I love that this oil only has 3 ingredients. It's really known for it's healing properties and it's rich Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9 plus antioxidant Carotenoids content. Great for sensitive skin that is dry and inflamed. This is also budget friendly oil! Grab it here!
- Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum- This serum is good all seasons but especially in the dead of winter when skin can get irritated and extra sensitive from the elements. It helps to calm the skin with essential B Vitamins. It also helps to calm sensitivity and redness and reduce acne. It doesn't have any essential oils in it either! Regular use of Niacinamide has shown to help ease inflammation and overall acne. This isn't hydrating on it's own, it's a gel consistency. I would apply this before an oil. Make sure if you do struggle with acne, that you're not getting a comedogenic oil. The Indie Lee Squalene Oil and the Pai Rosehip Seed Oil would be good oils to start with above. Grab it here!
Now that you know what oil to choose, let's dive into creams.
Many people aren’t sure what the difference is between an oil, a cream and a lotion. Allow me to explain. An oil is just that- just an oil- nothing added. A cream has a mix of water and oil, but more oil than water and then a lotion is also a mixture of water and oil but the higher percentage is water- which makes it thinner. Creams are great at protecting the skin, especially after applying an oil and if you need additional moisture. I like doing them at night. A lotion is good for in the morning when you want some hydration but don’t want to be too greasy from an oil.
We are going to focus on creams and their benefits. They really are the superstar when it comes to how to hydrate skin in the winter months. They really help to protect skin and hold in the moisture.
Here are some of my favorite natural winter skincare creams-
- Joshrosebrook Vital Balm Cream- It is a cream but also feels similar to a balm because of it's thicker texture- thus the name Vital Balm Cream(more on balms below). It feels creamy to the touch-not greasy and when I apply it my skin’s dryness dissipates and I’m left with plump hydrated skin. Ok, the smell…well it’s amazing! One of the best smelling products I’ve ever used. It has a fresh, light smell with vanilla enveloping all of it and blue tansy and ylang ylang notes throughout-I’m obsessed with the smell. It has the properties of a balm but feels like a cream-I mean it’s kind a dream cream! Can we talk about the color too?! The baby mint/blue hue just looks cool. The ingredient I was excited to learn about in the product is Indian Senna Seed. It really performs just like it supposed to in this cream. It’s been called the botanical hyaluronic acid, it gives skin the ability to retain moisture on it’s own. So your skin feels hydrated well after application. Grab it here!
- Jane Scrivener OO Cream- This cream has a bright golden orange hue from rosehip. I was so excited to see how this would stack up to other moisturizers. Well, I was impressed- very impressed. I’ve now been using this every night since I got it in the mail and can’t stop! It’s SO hydrating. Some creams leave your skin hydrated for a minute but this one lasts. It really sinks into the skin so nicely. I wake up in the morning and my skin still feels supple and moisturized, but not oily- I repeat not oily. Can I talk to you about the scent? I love the scent. It smells like vanilla- soothing and warm vanilla. It’s really an amazing product! If you’ve been looking for a cream to truly hydrate your skin in this winter season or any time- this is it. I can’t stop and won’t stop using it! Grab it here!
- Beautycounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream- This cream is what skincare dreams are made of- no joke! Yes, it is the best anti-aging cream I’ve found in natural skincare. Move over LaMer. There’s a new skin cream in town and it doesn’t contain the toxic ingredients! I have tried hundreds of natural skin creams in my day, yes as a clean beauty blogger my shelves are filled with product, after product. This one is in a league of it’s own. I just dare you to try it and tell me otherwise. The consistency is like softest most decadent cream. It literally melts into the skin and creates skin that feels so completely perfect from hydration to overall smoothness and radiance. My skin LOVES it.Not only does it contain the plant-derived retinol bakuchiol and alpine rose but also a tetrapeptide. Meaning it has four amino acids. Your skin will be repaired, protected and stimulated with increased collagen, all while being completely hydrated. Sound like something amazing? It’s because it is. This has been one of those products I recommend to clients when they tell me they have very dry skin and nothing seems to hydrate. They get this and they're hooked! Plus, it's the only cream that really fights the aging process with antioxidants, peptides and plant-derived retinols. Get it here!
- Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream- I recently discovered this cream a couple months ago and have been loving it. This has been the perfect moisturizer to add on top of my oils in the morning and at night for a little extra hydration. I even used this when we were up in the mountains sledding for the day and it kept my skin feeling so hydrated and protected. Not only does this cream moisturize but also provide great anti-aging benefits with it’s naturally rich antioxidants. It seeps into my skin so well, and doesn’t feel greasy. My hubs has been stealing this from me too-that means it’s good people! He can be pickier than me at times. What’s even better is the price tag on this cream, $48! A steal for a green beauty cream that works and is full of skincare actives! Check it out here!
So first what are skincare balms and why might you need one?? Good question. These play a vital role when it comes to how to hydrate skin in the winter months. Balms are made generally from oils, butters, and waxes. In my opinion a true balm is waterless. The product is more concentrated when there’s not water and so pure. Balms are multitaskers. They seriously can do it all. From cleanse, hydrate, protect and even offer some serious nutrients. Since balms typically involve a lot of oils, they are using soluble ingredients. Which in the end let’s you put more ingredients into one product. Hello effectiveness! Plus, since they’re waterless usually formulas can include ingredients that are more potent. Balms are especially great in the winter when your skin needs extra protection. They can help to protect skin from the harsh winds, cold and lock in the moisture. I apply balms after oils or creams.
Here are some of my favorite natural winter skincare balms
- Leahlani Bless Beauty Balm- Dry skin stands no chance with this baby! This is a balm and not a cream but performs like a cream in many ways. It’s full of organic shea and cocoa butters, as well as cold pressed oils. It melts right into your skin and leaves behind a beautiful smell of rosehip oil and no oily residue. My skin felt so hydrated! The perfect companion for dry weather in winter, and in the summer when you’ve spent too much time in the sun. You only need a little dab for the whole face. Grab it here!
- CVS Restorative Skin Balm- This is such a great protective skin balm. If your skin is cracked, dry and needing protection from the elements, this is your balm. It is similar to a conventional petroleum jelly product, think Aquaphor. It will soften skin, while hydrating at the same time. I even have used this on cuticles, elbows, or anywhere you experience cracked, dry skin. Grab it here!
- Laurel Night Balm- A waterless, luxe balm filled with phytonutrients. It hydrates the skin, while at the same time delivering nutrients. It helps to strengthen and build connective tissue. It helps to brighten and even skin tone overall. You wake up with skin that feels balanced, refreshed and restored. Get it here!
- Live Botanical Sanctuary Barrier Balm– This balm is one of my newest balm finds this year and it is so good! I can't stop using it. First, I love that it is essential oil free. Making it great for even the most sensitive skin types. What makes this different then other balms is the phospholipids. The molecules attract and hold onto the water and mimic how are skin structure is. The balm also helps other skincare products such as serums or active ingredients be absorbed. Get it here!
Also, besides skincare products there are a few other things to do on how to hydrate skin in the winter months:
- Avoid long hot showers that can dry out your skin.
- Use lukewarm water when your cleansing your skin.
- Apply moisturizer when skin is still slightly damp to lock in moisture.
- Stay hydrated- make sure you're drinking your water.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, nuts, seeds or take an omega-3 supplement.
- Avoid clothing that can irritate your skin like wool.
See any products you need to get? What helps keep your skin hydrated and balanced during the winter months?
If you liked this post on how to hydrate skin, be sure to check out past popular posts below:
- Natural Anti-aging Skincare Line
- How To Create A Natural Skincare Routine
- Best Natural Beauty Concealers